Insider Traveling
Tourists are seeking more authentic cultural experiences
Life / 25 Aug 2011
Tourists are known for walking too slowly, talking too loudly, and carrying ungainly oversized maps. To combat this unfavorable image, young vacationers are endeavoring to enjoy their travel experiences in increasingly intrinsic ways, such as staying in local apartments instead of hotels and perfecting their portable translation skills. They’re also seeking expert local guidance on what to see and do when they reach their destinations of choice.
: Most contemporary online travel resources can build itineraries and make suggestions based on a traveler’s personal taste, but these can still feel limited to the standard fare (this museum, that restaurant, and a few too many historic landmarks). In contrast, Vayable offers up outings that are specific to each location’s turf, and guided by locals. Experiences vary widely in cost and scope, from a $15 fashion model drawing session in NYC, to a $100 chance to cook an authentic lovo feast in a Fijian village, to a $4,000 motorcycle tour of France. Even for those who prefer staying close to home, these packages can provide a new outlook on their native cities.
: As the adage goes: “When in Rome, do as the Romans do.” But that can prove difficult if you don’t know any Romans or speak any Italian (though there is an app for that). Triptrotting strives to solve this conundrum, connecting tourists with welcoming locals to show them the ropes. Like a nouveau dating site (but for cross-continental friendship), the site lets travelers survey locals of the city they plan to visit. They can view profiles and exchange messages with potential guides before choosing the best fit. It’s a global take on the slew of new platforms that build connections between those who are otherwise strangers.
Political Tours
: News junkies looking to expand their global perspective should take note of this UK travel firm for their next trip abroad. Politically minded voyagers can choose among a variety of current-affairs-themed excursions to controversial stomping grounds—from the tense and tumultuous cities of Kosovo, to the developing capital of Ethiopia. Tours are led by expert journalists, political analysts, and esteemed professors, and are designed to give an intimate glimpse into the social and economic issues that persist in these once war-torn countries. Conversing with native villagers and asking questions of diplomats are standard activities on these culturally enlightening tours, which take the concept of edutainment to the next level.
©The Intelligence Group